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I’m turning 50 this year and instead of whining about it, I’m trying to do something positive by donating $50 to 50 different charities before I’m 50 years old.

I make a good living these days but I definitely remember all those years when I didn’t. Now, luckily I have parents who were willing to help me out in those times when money output outpaced money input, but not everyone is that fortunate.

Enter Modest Needs, an organization that basically crowd-funds people who are having money trouble. Their mission is to responsibly provide short-term financial assistance to individuals and families in temporary crisis who, because they are working and live just above the poverty level, are ineligible for most types of conventional social assistance but who (like many of us) are living one or two lost paychecks away from the kind of financial catastrophe that eventually leads to homelessness.

They rigorously vet the people who are being helped and they don’t give them cash – they pay the outstanding bill directly. Most of the needs are small, sometimes less than $100, so small donations can make a difference.

Take a look at some of the campaigns currently in flight and you’ll see a heartbreaking, and sometimes familiar, set of problems from a family who is facing having their electricity shut off because they had to pay for unexpected medical bills to a disabled vet who needs help with his mortgage while he is waiting for a vocational rehabilitation program to start.

To learn more about the organization or to make a donation yourself visit